A new flagship case has arrived from NZXT in the form of the Switch 810. It was shown off at CES, but we couldn’t talk about it until today. Our review unit arrived while the team was away at CES, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time to get much more than a quick initial impression of this case for launch day, but what an impression it was.
- 5.25″: 4
- Internal 3.5″: 6
- Expansion slots: 9
- Front: 2×120/140mm (1x140mm included)
- Top: 3×120/1400mm (1x140mm included)
- Rear: 1×120/140mm (1x140mm included)
- Bottom: 2×120/140mm
- Interior: 2×120/140mm (1x140mm included)
- VGA: 375mm (w/o fan), 285-350mm (w/fan depending on position)
- CPU Heatsink height: 195mm
- Rear wiring space: 23mm
- Motherboard support: E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
- Dimensions: 235mm x 595mm x 585mm (WxHxD)
- Material: Steel and plastic
- Weight: 9.1kg
- External connections: 1xAudio/mic, 2xUSB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, SDHC card reader
Two colors are available: white with black accents and all black. The review sample we received is the all black unit. We saw the white version at CES and, although the black version looks nice, my personal preference is for the look of the white case.
There are four 5.25″ bays in the Switch 810. One is set up for an optical drive, while another houses a 3.5″ removable drive rack. A small panel above the 5.25″ bays conceals one pair each of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports as well as an SDHC slot. The SDHC will likely be a welcome inclusion since it’s so widely used in cameras, cell phones, and lots of other devices. Also a welcome feature is a full USB 3.0 motherboard header, replacing pass-through cables that are found on other cases.
The two hard drive cages, each housing three 3.5″ bays, are rotated 90 degrees, and are each removable. Hard drive access is through the right side of the case (behind the motherboard), preserving a clean layout. Those cages can also hold 120mm or 140mm fans (one is included) improving airflow to both the hard drives and GPUs.
Hard drive retention has improved since the Phantom was reviewed. Instead of bending the hard drive brackets around a drive, there are now removable pegs to hold drives into the brackets. It’s much easier to use than the older style.
The devil is in the details
Perhaps the biggest “small” detail is the white LEDs that light the I/O panel. Ever get under the desk to plug something into your computer and realize you can’t see? Well, now you don’t have to get up, bang your head, look for a flashlight or cell phone, and getting back under the desk to see where to plug things in. It’s a little thing, but the potential benefit is huge.
Two mesh filters reside in the bottom of the case below the power supply. Both are easily removed for washing.
The top panel contains retractable fins that can either allow extra airflow when open or control noise when closed. The panel is also removable with a simple push, but be careful—the plastic pegs holding the panel are a little on the weak side. One of the pegs on the review unit broke after a few uses. Removing the panel allows easy access to the top fans (or radiator if you’ve chosen that route).
Speaking of fans, there are several options for cooling in the Switch 810. Up to ten 120mm or 140mm fans can be installed—four 140mm fans are included. Watercooling options are numerous; up to 420mm (3×140) or 360mm (3×120) radiators may be installed in the top of the case and a 240mm radiator can also be installed in the bottom. Four holes in the rear panel should allow easy management of hoses for external applications.
Hardware installation went as easily as it did with the NZXT Phantom. The full-tower form factor provides a ton of room to work. The motherboard tray’s ten cutouts for cable routing allows for a very clean install. NZXT even included one of their eight-pin sleeved extension cables for CPU power which came in quite handy. The cabling is fairly clean, but with a little more time, most of the wiring could be very well hidden. The NZXT-built system we saw at CES was immaculate, with basically no visible wiring.
There’s a lot to love about the Switch 810, but there are a couple of minor not-so-great things to point out. As I’ve found out through working with the case, the black version’s glossy finish shows off every bit of dust and fingerprints that come near it. The plastic top panel could be a little more sturdy—one of the pegs that holds the panel in place snapped off with normal pressure. The panel might not have been lined up correctly, but it’s difficult to tell at this point. Finally, the fan control and hard drive dock both use four-pin Molex connectors instead of SATA. It’s time to leave the old standards to die and move on. At the minimum, they should include a SATA-to-Molex adapter. But really, that’s the worst to be said, and it really is minor stuff. Just be careful and tidy and everything will be fine.
If first impressions are any indication, The NZXT Switch 810 is an amazing case. Its retail price of $169.99 seems fitting considering the specs and features. There are a couple of minor complaints, but they’re not deal breakers.
As it stands, we’re happy to award the NZXT Switch 810 the Icrontic Outstanding Product award; if you’re looking for a full-tower, full featured case for your high-end build, this one should be on your short list.